« AnteriorContinuar »
Page the Integrity of the Greek Testament. Arguments for its Integrity drawn from a consideration of the obstacles to a general corruption of the Greek manuscripts. Additional obstacles opposed by the ancient versions, and the writings of the Greek Fathers. The general check, which was afforded by the joint operation of manuscripts, fathers, and versions, must have preserved to us the New Testament in the same state upon the whole, which was given to it by the writers themselves. The conduct of the Greek Church, from which we have received our Greek manuscripts, an additional reason for believing that they have not been wilfully corrupted. The arguments for the Integrity of the Greek manuscripts would be entirely destroyed, if it were true that 1.John v. 7. existed originally in the Greek manuscripts, and was afterwards expunged. Necessary connexion therefore between the general Integrity of the New Testament, and the evidence relating to that passage. Summary statement of the evidence. History of the passage, from its origin in the Latin version to its introduction in a modern Greek manuscript, and thence to a printed edition. Result of this inquiry is, that the general principle, by which we maintain the Integrity of the New Testament, is not affected. Application of this principle to the period, in which all other arguments would fail: and the inference thence deduced, that the Greek manuscripts, which have descended to the present age, are free from the corruptions, which have been ascribed to them.
Page The integrity of the New Testament having been proved,
we may argue from the character of the writers to the Credibility of their writings. Mode of conducting that argument. Application of it to the Apostolic Historians, St. Matthew and St. John. They had no motive to deceive others, and could not be deceived themselves. St. Matthew wrote his Gospel under circumstances, which leave no other alternative, than either that the history is true, or that a fraud was committed which was morally impossible. Similar argument applicable to the Gospel of St. John. Credibility of the Gospels of St. Mark and St. Luke. Though not eye-witnesses to the facts recorded in their Gospels, like St. Matthew and St. John, they derived their information from those who were eyewitnesses. Whether the information was communicated to them in writing, or only in verbal conversation. The former has been already shewn to be more probable: and, being more secure, than a communication by words, is more favourable to the Credibility of their Gospels. Their dependence on the Apostles for their information was equal in either case: and their independence, with respect to each other, is no more affected by the supposition of a written, than by the supposition of a verbal communication. The author's mode of explaining the verbal harmony of the three first Gospels does not impair, but secure the independence of St. Mark and St. Luke, as historians, with reference to each other. Strange mistake, which
Page has been generally made on this subject. The ' Veracity of the Evangelists' does not depend on the mode in which they obtained their materials, but on the mode, in which they employed their materials. St. Mark and St. Luke employed their materials as faithfully, as they obtained their materials securely. Proof of this assertion. St. Mark and St. Luke encountered the same dangers with the Apostles, and therefore gave similar proofs of their sincerity. General inference to the Credibility of the four Gospels, as drawn from the arguments employed in this section,
The Credibility of the facts recorded in the New Tes
tament estimated from a consideration of the facts themselves. Three different ways, in which those facts may be considered.
We may compare the several parts of each single book : or we may compare one book with another: or we may compare the whole with other works of acknowledged credit. The Gospels,
. when examined singly, are found to be consistent in their several parts, and have so far the internal marks
When the Gospels of St. Mark and St. Luke are compared with the Gospel of St. Matthew, they are found to corroborate each other. The matter, which is common to the three first Gospels, forms of itself a Narrative of our Saviour's ministry, from his baptism to his death and resurrection. Hence arose the supposition, that such a Narrative once eristed in a separate form. The supposition of such
Page a Narrative accounts not for any verbal harmony: it accounts only for the harmony in the matter of the three first Gospels. The harmony in the arrangement of the common matter by St. Murk and St. Luke, inexplicable on any other supposition, unless we abandon the notion, that St. Mark and St. Luke wrote independently of each other. A faithful adherence, on the part of St. Mark and St. Luke to a roritten communication from the Apostles an argument for the Credibility of their Gospels. Credibility of the facts, which each of the three first Gospels has peculiar to itself. Character of St. John's Gospel different from that of the other three : but his Gospel equally credible. The apparent contradictions in our four Gospels do not impair the veracity of the writers, or the credibility of their writings. Comparison of the Acts of the Apostles, with the Epistles of St. Paul; and the inference thence deduced, that the history is true. Confirmation of the facts recorded in the New Testament, by a comparison with Josephus and Tacitus. The actions ascribed to our Saviour, shewn to be of that description, that the Apostles and Evangelists not only would not have recorded them, but could not have recorded them, if they had not been true
Special inquiry into the Credibility of the Miracles
recorded in the New Testament. Importance of this inquiry to the truth of Christianity. Definition of a miracle, as the term is used by Christ and his
Apostles. Attempts of the Jews in the time of our Saviour to evade the inference from miracles by ascribing them to the agency of evil spirits. Absurdity of such attempts, and insufficiency of the answers, which have been sometimes given. A real miracle can be performed only by the special interference of God himself. The attempts of the Jews, to account for the miracles of our Saviour, however absurd those attempts might be, establish the existence of the miracles. Objections of modern philosophers to the existence of miracles, on the ground that they are incapable of proof. Answer to the objection, that the notion of a miracle destroys itself. Answer to the argument from experience as explained by Mr. Hume. Proof that miracles may be established by human testimony. Proof that the miracles, recorded in the New Testament, are sufficiently established by human testimony. Illustration of the argument by an eramination of the miracle performed in the restoration of Lazarus. The Miracles ascribed to the Apostles equally credible. Additional argument for the Credibility of the Miracles performed by St. Paul. Inference from the Credibility of facts to the Credibility of doctrines ; whence it appears,
that the doctrines recorded in the New Testament, are doctrines, which came from God